June 9, 2013 “Tower Days” Fireworks

 

Every June the city of Spring Lake Park has “Tower Days”, which is essentially their version of the Fourth of July.  This concludes with a Sunday night fireworks display.  For the past 13 years I didn’t attend, but this year, I wanted to.

Enter “Jupril” 2013, this awful Spring that refuses to break out of the cool, cloudy and rainy weather pattern (thus the term Jupril; as “June” is more like April).  After raining all day, the weather finally cleared, so off to the fireworks I went.

 

The music for this page is “Greatest Hits”  by Foo Fighters (one of my all-time favorite bands).  With a little side helping of The Black Crowes and The Bangles (have you seen Susanna Hoffs lately?  She is STILL hot)…

 

JUN 9 2013  001Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 9.4 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 15mm (APS-C).

The fireworks begin.  These took place at Spring Lake (1 mile east of me, so I walked over there).  My plan was to get in close with an ultra-wide, so I used my D7000 and my Tokina “Soupcan Stan” 12-24mm lens, and shot in Landscape aspect ratio.  The camera was mounted on a tripod and I used “BULB” (also known as  “TIME”) exposure mode, and a remote shutter release.

 

 

 

JUN 9 2013  011Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 9.2 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 17mm (APS-C).  IMAGE CROPPED.

What became apparent to me as I took these is I needed two cameras; one in Landscape, and one in Portrait aspect ratio.  I also made a mistake with my lens choice; I needed a higher focal length, so my 17-55mm would have been better.  This shot, and all Portrait aspect ratio images, were cropped.

 

 

 

JUN 9 2013  007ANikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and an 11 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 20mm (APS-C).

I had some fading twilight early on, but I wish the display had begun about 20 minutes earlier.  The sky would have been wonderful.  This looks like two birds of prey from a science fiction movie; with both anti-aircraft fire from the ground, and rounds from the blue bird to the right, being shot at the enemy red and gold bird in the center.  Remember, I’m not a bird fan, except for Bald Eagles, which rule the Earth.

 

 

 

JUN 9 2013  006Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 9.9 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 20mm (APS-C).  IMAGE CROPPED.

A nice clean shot.  Instead of letting fireworks fill a single frame, I tried for fewer bursts.

 

“Learn to Fly” is playing, so a brief pause is in order.  Volume, UP!

 

 

JUN 9 2013  012aNikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 5.9 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 17mm (APS-C).  IMAGE CROPPED.

Kind of a neat, “flower-like” shot.  This was originally under-exposed but I recovered it because I shoot RAW.  I tried various aperture settings but settled in at F/8, which all of these finalists were taken at.

 

 

 

JUN 9 2013  017Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 26.6 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 14mm (APS-C).

I think this was the start of the finale.  The shot might be a little busy, especially vis-a-vis the previous, but I like the reflection in the lake.  I had hoped to get more lake reflection images, but failed.  Maybe next year…

 

 

 

JUN 9 2013  015Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 15.9 second shutter speed.  ISO 100. Focal length: 14mm (APS-C).  IMAGE CROPPED.

Another clean, but cropped image.  The display went on for about 15-20 minutes or so.  Although it wasn’t what one would see in say, New York, the crowd went home quite happy.  So did I.

 

 

 

JUN 9 2013  013Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 17.8 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 17mm (APS-C).

I took me several bursts but I did manage to move the frame to maintain the fireworks in the Rule of Thirds.  In other words, this wasn’t cropped.

 

Ok, I hit #6 on the CD player to enjoy Learn to Fly again.  I totally dig the intro slide and octave chord progression.  Besides, a repeat of that song sets up the last image…

 

JUN 9 2013  005Nikon D7000 with a Tokina 12-24mm F/4 AT-X PRO DXII lens shot at F/8 and a 12.8 second shutter speed.  ISO 100.  Focal length: 20mm (APS-C).

The finale is my favorite of the shoot.  Be sure to click on it for the larger version.  Clearly a lucky shot; all fireworks images are.  I did some post-processing in RAW to bring out the sky but not too much.  The D7K/Soupcan Stan combo brought home a winner.

 

Some things I learned:

I made a mistake shooting just with an ultra-wide lens.  If you look at my focal length, you can see it’s been changing rather frantically (at least that’s what it felt like during the shoot).  Next time I will set up two camera bodies.

Fireworks happen fast and I found myself feeling quite hurried during the shoot.

I’m glad I followed my own advice (found on various pages on this site) and brought a flashlight.  That was very helpful.

It was cool enough to wear a jacket, and I was glad I did.  That helped protect me from the mosquitoes, who were out in force!

I wish I had used my Flagship D7100, with its 24.1 megapixel sensor; I just didn’t realize I would do that much cropping.

I love fireworks, but as usual, it was difficult to enjoy the event I was trying to photograph.  And so it goes…

 

Overall, this was a pretty good shoot, and I’ll hopefully try again in 2014.

 

 all images © Scott Woelm – Jupril 2013